‘Such Pretty Flowers’ Is A Gothic Take On Mental Illness & Toxic Relationships
‘Such Pretty Flowers’: A Gothic Take On Mental Illness & Toxic Romance
A unique blend of mystery, mental health, and a dangerous attraction feature in this queer thriller.
Reading K. L. Cerra’s Such Pretty Flowers could be likened to being devoured by one of the carnivorous plants making an appearance in the novel (minus the unbearable pain, of course). Initially drawn in by stunning cover art and the promise of a sinister mystery, the reader is pulled deeper into a beautifully crafted story from which there is no escape. The reader is the mealworm to Cerra’s pitcher plant and the surrender is beautiful.
Such Pretty Flowers is the debut novel by K. L. Cerra. At its most basic level, this is a tale of a woman’s (Holly) pursuit to uncover the mysteries surrounding her brother’s brutal suicide. But it’s much more than that. The story takes us on a journey with Holly as she grapples with her guilt, grief, and her irresistible attraction to her dead brother’s fiancé, Maura.
This story is gripping from start to finish. Beginning with the reveal of the unsettling texts sent from Holly’s brother the night of his suicide, all the way through the end, readers may find themselves promising themselves just one more chapter. Thankfully it’s worth the resulting sleep deprivation.
Cerra’s depiction of Holly’s mental state throughout the book, whether dealing with her grief and guilt, her self-perceived failures, or her confusion over her attraction to Maura, was nuanced and entirely relatable. As Holly found herself drawn ever closer to Maura (and closer to answers), events become increasingly horrifying. It's equally propulsive and anxiety-inducing, as the best thrillers are.
As the title suggests, flowers play a huge role in this story. Cerra’s descriptions of the lush greenery and flowers cement the reader’s imagination in the setting of Savannah, laying bare Cerra’s gift for evocative prose. Flowers from the beautiful tea roses, and the disturbing lotus seed pods, to the mysterious black roses, the expanse of flora presented highlights the beauty and horror presented in the entirety of this novel.
Where the story proves to be a minor letdown in the climax, because of the multi-layered psychology of the protagonist and the strength of the pacing, it doesn't quite live up to the rest of the story. However, Such Pretty Flowers is a thoroughly enjoyable novel and proves Cerra is an author to keep an eye on in the future.
It’s highly recommended for any reader who enjoys sinister mysteries, psychological thrillers, explorations into the more troubling depths of the psyche, or of course, pretty flowers.
Such Pretty Flowers arrives in bookstores on February 7, and is available for preorder now.